Monday, May 18, 2009

Tools Innovative Educators Can Use to Assess the Infusion of 21st Century Skills Into Instruction

As I visit schools around NYC teachers and leaders are often eager to show me the great ways they are using technology to enhance instruction. Sometimes I see fantastic things such as during my visit to Kappa IV, CIS 339, PS 005X or IS 93. Other times, such as during a recent visit to a school, I see the technology being used as nothing more than a typewriter or a glorified chalkboard. In cases like this when I ask principals, “How are you assessing your teacher's use of 21st Century skills?” or I ask coaches, “How are you helping to ensure your teachers are incorporating 21st Century skills into the classroom,” they come up blank.

If teachers don't know what the expectations are, principals don't know what to access, and coaches don't know how to get them there, then there is no real way to measure success. Here are a few easy (and free!) assessment tools innovative educators can use to measure, identify, and discuss 21st Century education practices.

Assessing Teachers

Technology Integration Matrix

Description: The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students. One of the things that makes this such a fantastic tool is that it has a video demonstration of what each level actually looks like. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal directed (i.e., reflective), authentic, and collaborative. The TIM associates five levels of technology integration (i.e., entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation) with each of the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments. Together, the five levels of technology integration and the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments create a matrix of 25 cells as illustrated on the website.

Classroom Visitation Rubric


Description: The class rubric was created by New York City Department of Education principals, technology coaches, and teachers from one-to-one laptop schools. It was created to assess technology in the classroom in the following areas: Instruction, Technology Integration, Professional Development, Differentiating Instruction, Learner Centered, Classroom management, Use of software and online tools, Classroom Environment, Computer use, Presentation technology use (i.e. projector, interactive whiteboard.). It is recommended that a school/teacher only select one or two areas to focus on at a time. The rubric is and excel document that can be downloaded and instantly calculates each teacher’s score with room for comments and notes. The document can be modified and updated to each school’s needs.

Assessing Administrators and Tech Coordinators

School 2.0 Reflection Tool

Description: The Reflection Tool presents questions that are designed to help you reflect on your skills in technology integration and to identify areas for growth. These questions are based on the Technology Standards for School Administrators developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Skills Framework developed by the Consortium for School Networking (COSN.) Upon completion, the respondent receives a profile for self-reflection. S/he can then request links to resources that the responses indicate might be helpful and store them in the “your personal resources” section of the site.

There are many, many assessment tools out there. Some free, some require a fee. If you are interested in looking at additional tools, I invite you to visit TIE's Tech Assessments. You can also join the conversation at Classroom 2.0 by visiting Technology Assessment for Schools, Leaders, Educators, Students.

For further reading visit these links published in the February 2009 issue of eSchool News.


  1. I've recently started using the Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) questionnaire to help assess the infusion of 21st century skills into instruction. One of the reasons we chose it is that it is aligned to the ISTE NETS-T. Do you have any experience with LoTi? If so, I'd love to hear what you think of it and how it compares to the resources you've recommended here. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for all your great resources, I am preparing for a job interview and your blog has been so helpful, esp. this latest post. I have learned so much and been inspired from reading your blog.